Dates of written Rgveda

Benjamin Fleming cheapies at CABLEREGINA.COM
Sun Mar 12 08:05:14 UTC 2000

Steve Farmer writes:
>I admit that the idea that much in any one culture is "absolutely
>unique" is anathema to the comparativist in me. For parts of my
>work, over the past two decades I've closely followed specialized
>developments in neurobiology -- especially in respect to

>prefrontal functions, where important parts of memory as well as
>cultural models are encoded.

Could you please elaborate upon "as well as cultural models" specifically,
how you propose that a cultural model can be located in any part of the
brain, meaning, the reductivist tendency of your approach to culture is
suspect. Even if one's "wetware" as you call it is identical to another's
this does not mean that one group cannot come up with a more effective means
of using their function of memory in rhymn and verse, etc. This effective
means, the Vedas, is the cultural product and is the result of parameters
that are contextual and specific to India and cannot be reduced to a point
in one's brain, whether or not this brain is identical throughout the world.
These parameters have been elaborated upon by others already.

The deep biological constraints on
>memory processes are, despite much neural plasticity, culturally

whether or not "memory processes are . . culturally invariant" cultures are
not invariant, and consitstent patterns (your "wetware") do not
automatically imply that they are and that we should assume that one culture
could not develop a technique of memorization better than others.  This is
not to say that I completely disagree with all your conclusions, but I have
problems with the "brain" argument; the brain is limited as you say and
should not be used for arguments of cultural perrenialism.

The same "wetware" and the similar means of internal
>and external encoding (in use of rhyming patterns, imagistic
>mnemonics, writing, etc.) implies that there will be broad
>structural similarities in cultural byproducts as well.

No, this implies nothing, or at least it does not imply that Vedic systems
of memorization could not be more effective than in other parts of the
world.   Cultural "byproducts"  [a problematic term] need not be a direct
result of brain function only.  One must approach an entire physiology and
its total enviornment, not only the brain.  Please do not assume you can
consume all essential differences with the brain argument, its limited at

B. Fleming

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